The Business of Open Source

Travis Rehl is director of product at CloudCheckr, a platform that unifies IT, security, and finance teams around the cloud, through deep visibility, automation, and governance. As director of product, Travis works closely with customers, helping them navigate their cloud journeys, and using his insights to help the company roadmap future offerings.

In this episode of The Business of Cloud Native, host Emily Omier and Travis discuss the changing cloud landscape, and the massive role that cost can play during a migration. Travis also shares his thoughts on cloud cost management, offering expert advice for companies regardless of where they are in their cloud journey.

Show Notes

This conversation covers: 

  • Why many businesses are shifting away from analyzing total cloud spend (CapEX vs. OpEX) and are now forecasting spend based around usage patterns.
  • The difference between cloud-native, cloud computing, and operating in the cloud. 
  • The delta that often exists between engineering teams and business stakeholders regarding costs. Travis also offers tips for aligning both parties earlier in the project lifecycle.
  • Common misconceptions that exist around cost management, for both engineers and business stakeholders. For example, Travis talks about how engineers often assume that business teams manage purely to dollars and cents, when they are often very open to extending budgets when it’s necessary.
  • Tips for predicting cloud spend, and why teams usually fall short in their projections.
  • Why conducting cloud cost management too early in a project can be detrimental. 
  • Comparing the cost of the cloud to a private data center. 
  • The growing reliance on multi-cloud among large enterprises. Travis also explains why it’s important to have the right processes in place, to identify cross-cloud saving opportunities. 
  • How IT has transitioned from a business enabler to a business driver in recent years, and is now arguably the most important component for the average company.



Announcer: Welcome to The Business of cloud-native podcast, where we explore how end users talk and think about the transition to Kubernetes and cloud-native architectures.

Emily: Welcome to the Business of cloud-native. I'm your host, Emily Omier, and I'm here today with Travis Rehl, who is the director of product at CloudCheckr. Travis, I just wanted to start out, first of all, by saying thank you for joining me on the show. And second of all, if you could just start off by introducing yourself. What you do, and by that I mean, what does an actual day look like? And some of your background?

Travis: Yeah. Well, thanks for having me. So yeah, I'm Travis Rehl, director of product here at CloudCheckr. What that really means is, I have the fun job of figuring out what should the business do next in relation to our product offering here at the business. That means roadmap, looking at the market, what are customers doing differently now, or planning to do differently over the next year, two years or so, on cloud? What their cost strategies are, what their invoicing and chargeback strategies are, all that type of fun stuff, and how we can help accommodate those particular strategies using our product offering. 

Sort of, day to day, though, I would say that a bunch of my time during the day is spent talking to customers, figuring out where they are in their cloud journey, if you will, what programs or projects they may have in flight that are interesting, or complicated, or they need help on. Especially making any sort of analysis help in particular, and then lastly, taking all that information and packaging it up neatly, so that the business can make a decision to add functionality to our product in some way that can assist them move forward.

Emily: The first question I wanted to ask is actually if you could talk just a little bit about the distinction between cloud-native, and cloud computing, and operating in the cloud. What do all of those things actually mean, and where's the delta between them?

Travis: Sure. Yeah so, it's actually kind of interesting, and you'll hear it a little bit differently from different people. In my background, in particular—I used to run an engineering department for a managed service provider. And so we used to do a lot of project planning of companies as to what's their strategy for their software deployment of some kind on cloud. And typically the two you see for, say, cloud-native versus operating in the cloud, operating on the cloud is very atypical. 

You'd associate that to something like lift and shift—probably hear about a lot—the concept of taking your on-prem workload and simply cloning it, or taking it in some way and copying in some way, on to the cloud-native vendor in particular. So, literally just standing up servers of clones of hard drives and so forth, and emulating what you had on-prem, but on the cloud. That's a great technique for moving quickly to cloud. That's not a great technique if you want to be cloud-native. So, that's really the big segue for cloud-native, in particular, is you want to build a software solution that takes advantage of cloud-only technology, meaning serverless compute resources, meaning auto-scaling different types of services themselves, stuff you probably didn't have when you're on-prem originally, that you now have, you can take advantage of on the cloud. That's almost like a redesign, or reimplementation around those models that cloud itself provides to you. That, to me, is the big difference. And I see oftentimes that gap-wise, many companies who are starting on-prem, they will do the migration to cloud first, the lift and shift model, and then they will decide, “Hey, I want to redesign pieces of it to make it more cloud-native.” And then you'll see startups who don't have on-prem at all, they will just go into cloud-native from the get-go.

Emily: Of course, CloudCheckr specializes in helping with costs among some other things, but how do costs fit into this journey, and what sort of cost-related concerns do companies have as they're on this cloud journey?

Travis: Yeah, so there's a few. I would actually say that years ago—just to clarify, the discussion has changed over the last few years—but years ago, it started with CapEx versus OpEx costs, specifically for purchasing of your IT services. On-prem, you'd probably purchase up-front a bulk number of VMs or servers or otherwise, for a number of years, and so be a CapEx cost. When you moved over to cloud and more of this, usage-based, model kind of threw a lot of people for a loop when it came to more OpEx usage space models. AWS, Azure, GCP have helped in that regard with things like reserved instances for companies who are more CapEx oriented as well, but in terms of the initial years ago, a big hurdle was communicating that difference and how the business may pay for these services. And a lot of people were very interested in moving to OpEx back then, in particular. 

When it came to how do you take into account all these cost-related changes the business may go through, one of the big ones that I see most recently is around the transference and storage of data. In the past, it would have been about how much money total am I going to spend on the cloud itself. Now, it's about what am I forecasting to spend based off of those usage patterns. It's a bit easier to forecast those things when you have servers that run for a period of time, but when you have usage patterns for data ingestion, for data transfer, for servers spinning up and spinning down and scaling out horizontally, that pattern becomes a bit more fluid. So, that's typically a conversation that comes up quite often. That's the type of thing that CloudCheckr and products like us can help with.

Emily: Do you think there's any delta between how engineering teams think about and understand cost, and business stakeholders think about and understand costs?

Travis: I would say yeah, there's a fairly significant difference there. I would say that engineers initially care a little bit less about cost. They have an objective. They're trying to solve for a project or goal they're trying to achieve. And so as a result, they're saying, “How can I achieve that quickly?” And that changes over time as the product becomes closer to production-ready. They may say, “Okay, now I want to optimize a bit more what I built.” Whereas the business is more thinking about, “I have this project plan in front of me, how do I go as quickly as possible, without incurring so much costs that it goes over budget, or I don't foresee a particular budgetary circumstance occurring?” It's slightly different mentalities, to be quite honest with you. What I see the most of is that they do align towards the end of the project, or the steady-state of the project, when the team has delivered the thing, whatever that may be, but need to make a decision quite quickly as to how do they want to either cap those costs moving forward or come up with an appropriate sort of budgetary model that scales linearly or otherwise, that both sides can agree upon?

Emily: And are there any best practices that you can think of for how that gap can be bridged earlier in the process?

Travis: Yeah. What’s interesting, you're seeing, probably in the last couple years now—as you've probably heard, “Cloud Centers Of Excellence.” I'm assuming you've heard that term?

Emily: Mm-hm. Yep.

Emily: Yeah. So, one of the big amplifiers of that is bringing in your financial team to that planning model for how you want to deploy and manage cloud resources, so they have a say early on in the process, but also, it's more about communicating what the plan needs to be. Typically, I see the engineering team—the product manager, right—going off and saying, “We need a build and go fast.” And then it's the financials—accounting or otherwise—that says, “Hey, what happened to this project once you delivered it?” To bring them in earlier to that conversation via a CCOE sort of methodology—Cloud Center Of Excellence methodology—I see helps the most. It’s really about communicating first. 

The second, though, is about setting corporate guidelines for what people are allowed or not allowed to do. Shadow IT has been a problem for a very long time for businesses. Cloud actually, in my opinion, can amplify that problem because of how easy it can be to start spinning up resources, and doing projects, or otherwise. So, it's pretty important for central IT, or for that Center Of Excellence group to set the standards of how the business needs to operate from that point forward, but then allowing different organizations, business units, or groups to deploy and manage at the cadence they need.

Emily: What do you think are some misconceptions on both sides about cost management? So, misconceptions from engineers and misconceptions from business stakeholders?

Travis: I think, as a product person, I have the fun job of being someone in the middle of it all. I think engineers have a misconception that the business side is managing to dollars and cents. That can often be the case. So, if you're an engineer, and you are a creative type, and you want to build something, and you have someone out there saying, “No, no, no, you can't do it because of XYZ thing,” cost or [unintelligible], or otherwise it can create this barrier between the two of them. But what I have learned, though, is that from an engineer communicating to a business person, especially on this subject, documenting and communicating the impact, the positive impact, and sometimes negative impact, but positive impact I'd recommend, on the business for why the project will enable your teams, or get you into a market faster, or solve a corporate problem that's been around for a while. 

The business side is very open, I found over the years, to hearing out those reasons, and agreeing to extending costs, or being more lenient on the cost model of a project so it can go faster. Likewise, though, on the business side, when they're working with engineers, it can be a little bit fraught when they think of, say if you've got a project moving and a business team says, “You have a budget for this and a line item,” and they say, “What's the project plan? When are you going to deliver? What's the velocity for delivering?” Cloud lets engineers do a bunch of new things they probably haven't had in the past, like faster deployment times to the product or a project in question; being able to react, or be proactive, however way you want to manage to it, for a customer requests, or otherwise. And as a result, it can be easy for that business person to expect a very linear approach to product development or delivery of services. And so for them, it's more about seeing and working with engineers to see how, “Hey, maybe the business can be improved by doing things a little bit differently than they had in the past.”

Emily: Yeah. So, basically, what you're saying is, as long as the business is understanding this expense as an investment in something, usually it's not a big problem.

Travis: Yeah. But it really comes down to communicating that. It can be so hard for an engineer, to say, “Hey, if I deliver this new pipeline, then I can deliver code, converge code, deploy code, test code faster.” That may not translate really well to a business person, and that's kind of the, I would hope, the role of product within your organization, or their organization, to help do that translation because if you're able to deploy quicker, that means you can solve customer problems faster, your time to market’s faster, you can make changes to your cost model faster, with very little risk. But that's the communication gap that typically resides.

Emily: And what do you think are some surprises that come up on the cloud journey regarding—we've already talked about how this is a shift from CapEx to OpEx, but what do people not fully understand about what those OpEx costs are going to be for example, or how it's going to work at the beginning of the journey versus at the end?

Travis: Yeah, so at the beginning, I think there's an interpretation that—let's say you're spinning up a project for a very first time, and you're typically used to that CapEx model, and the team delivers their budget to you, the business person, and they’re like, “It’s going to cost us, round numbers, like$1,000 this month to get started.” And then by month two, they've scaled up, and they're two grand or three grand or something, whatever that number needs to be. The business is typically not prepared or is ready to be prepared to understand that it will change; the costs will change. It never is exactly what you ever thought it was going to be at to start. You can estimate all you want, there's tons of different calculators out there that helps you get close enough, but it's never going to be the number you always envisioned it to be. And that's just something you have to live with and get used to. It's more about the later on in the project that matters more. 

So, I think up front, it's very useful for project leaders to also communicate to the business that this is an estimate. We think it's going to start here, but we expect it to grow. And then, have good caps for yourself, almost like milestones to say, if you're getting closer to a particular cap, to a particular budget, maybe you should sit down for a moment and say, “Hey, are we doing this the wrong way, or can we do it a little bit differently?” Later on in the project, though, it gets kind of interesting. So, in my past life, I worked at a company where we did a lot of eCommerce implementations for other vendors, for other businesses, and one of the things always surprised people the most was data transfer costs. 

So, when we will be scoping a project, we would say, “Okay, here's the traffic we would expect to hit your new eCommerce solution, here's the type of things we expect them to do, here is the type of content, they need to load from the system, and thus, here's how much you're going to spend in transfer rates from the servers or otherwise—or CDN or otherwise—to the end-user.” And then what always hit us every single time is, like, Black Friday, or some kind of promotional event a marketing team would do, where we see a ton more traffic coming onto the system. And suddenly, all those atypical usage statistics would spike, you would be sending more images out to users, you'd be ingesting more traffic than you're anticipating, and you'd have more storage of their user information or otherwise, on your back end. And so, that sort of scaling model of usage patterns becomes more common over time because you see it more often. I like to put sort of, like, buffers on those particular areas of the budget, that say, “Hey, here's how much I think I'm going to spend on EC2, or computes, or VMs, or what have you, but I know that we ingest a lot of images from end-users, and we have to take in those images all the time, and I know we're going to run four promotions in a given year, and I should expect a 40 percent increase on those time periods. So, maybe my OpEx costs should be increased by a certain budget to accommodate that.” That type of planning has to start, has to become normal to happen between the project team and the accounting group, or financial group of some kind. So, there's some more of a clear agreement as to what realistically the budget needs to be long term.

Emily: Do actual cloud costs ever come in less than estimated?

Travis: I would say it's more often over what's estimated. The only times I see it coming in less is when the team delivering the solution implements a really sophisticated sort of data transfer strategy, or storage and archival strategy than expected. Maybe usage is less than you expect as well. Or, everybody should always be planning for some buffer, so if you've got a project that you think it's going to cost you $800 a month, maybe you should tell the business it’s $1000. [laughs]. Sort of overachieve where you think it’s appropriate.

In that case, you're always going to come in lower than you expect. I actually think that cloud costs will always increase. That's just natural to do so. As you do more on cloud, you store more, you transfer more, you need more compute; it will always increase. I think it's more important to analyze the rates in which you are increasing. If you are spiking and it continues to spike, then there is a problem. If you're steadily growing, but your user account is growing, your revenue is increasing as well, and it's linear in some fashion, in that regard, that's a good thing. That doesn't mean something's wrong. But if you're spiking and things are consistently spiking, then you have a problem.

Emily: Just like any other part of your business. If you're hiring more people, hopefully, it's because it means your business is growing. But you're also spending more—

Travis: Exactly.

Emily:—obviously. You were also saying sometimes the costs end up being less than expected because the company has invested in cost management strategies. Why—

Travis: Yeah—

Emily: Oh, go ahead.

Travis: I was just going to say, I would say that companies don't typically start there. At least in the past, they haven't started first food forward, where they're saying, “I want to keep costs in check first, prior to doing the project.” Typically, they do a project, then they find that oh, they did too much, and now we need help. That's the normal I see.

Emily: Yeah, in fact, I was going to ask, are there disadvantages to doing cloud cost management?

Travis: In general?

Emily: Yes, or scenarios where you would say, “Maybe this isn't what you're supposed to be focused on?”

Travis: Yeah, I think it depends on the stage of either the entire company or the individual business unit or project. And what I mean by that is, if you're Google, you're probably managing a very small team, like they’re a startup, or your startup yourself. And so, in the very early onset of any product delivery, cloud or not, it's typically more about volume and usage patterns of your end-users on the system. And you will spend money to get there, you will put in long hours to make it happen. Don't create barriers yourself, to achieve the goal that you have in mind for your team, your project, or otherwise. 

But then as the project matures, you typically see people sort of step back and say, “Okay, we made a great lot of great strides. We've hit a lot of our milestones, we have the user base we need, how do we tailor back a bit so that things become a bit more normalized and consistent on the delivery?” And so early on, I don't see a lot of people putting a lot of effort into cost savings, cost optimizations, and recommendations, just because things are fluid, dynamic, chaotic, whatever word choice you want to use for yourself at the time. But at some point in any business, you will come to the conclusion of, “Okay, we've done a lot of things; a lot of stuff. How do you then efficiently optimize what you have already delivered?” And that's where tools like CloudCheckr and others come into play to help you figure out that cost optimization and that strategy.

Emily: Yeah. And can you think of any examples where you think, maybe this company would have paid less if they had done cost management, but maybe they wouldn't have accomplished x?

Travis: Yeah. Without using a customer name, but to be honest, I forget their name offhand; it’s about a year ago, we had a particular scenario where they're moving from on-prem. They were a video provider, and they were moving from on-prem to cloud. And in the move they had, it was something like $400,000 per month in wasted resources. Meaning they had IP addresses not attached to particular servers, or load balancers, they had storage volumes that are no longer in use, not even being backed up or anything, just kind of live off to the side, that people kind of forgot about. It was like $400,000 a month in that stuff. It was a lot of money. 

And they actually made a decision in the middle of the project, to back up and slow down for a moment and clean up all those things, and it probably cost them a couple months or so—because of the size and volume they're driving at—it probably cost them a couple months of their internal resource time, or otherwise to remediate those loss cost savings, and then continue the project forward with better guardrails. If I remember correctly, they actually missed a significant event day. Like, it wasn't Black Friday, it was some media day they had at the company they wanted to leverage a new system for so that it had a more performant experience with their customers to see videos and content they were delivering. And they had to leverage their older system at the time, which actually cost them more money at the moment because they had to spin up additional resources on their old system to handle that load, and it just wasn't optimal experience for themselves to do that. I think they broke even at the end of the day. I would have just gone faster on the new thing in that scenario, but that's how it played out for them.

Emily: So, basically, what you're saying is that it's not always a really simple decision. There's pluses and minuses, and everybody has a limited amount of time, resources, and focus, so you have to decide what's most important at this moment for your organization.

Travis: That particular daily experience is near and dear to my heart because that's the majority of my job. There are a lot of opportunities in front of you, a lot of bad things you could do, too, sometimes you're not going to get everybody happy, either. You need someone who's going to make a decision and move quickly, especially if you're a business that's on cloud in a competitive market that's trying to grow. You don't have months or years—sometimes even weeks—to make that type of decision. You kind of have to have all the data in front of you and say, “Here's the best one.” 

Cloud makes that harder to be quite honest with you. The speed at which you can deliver functionality, and your competitors themselves, the speed at which they can change means that you need to be very confident in what you can do and what your team can do, as well as understand what the risks are in front of you so you can make a decision quickly. If you're not ready to do that, then there may be problems ahead for you because as the market continues to go in that direction, that's just going to be a soft skill required moving forward for a lot of people.

Emily: Do you think that the cloud is less expensive than data center? Do you think that cloud-native is less expensive than say someone doing a lift and shift?

Travis: Yeah, so it depends a little bit. So, I can start with cloud-native and then work my way back to private cloud. It will be more expensive upfront, to go cloud-native typically, because you're building it from scratch, or redesigning a significant portion most likely of an existing application stack. So, the upfront overhead to go cloud-native is always going to be higher, especially when you factor in things like labor costs. However, though, once you have made that transition, costs can be tremendously lower. So, it's really more so about, is the business willing to take on the effort to make that leap upfront, or is there only so much that’s palatable [laughs] at the time to move forward.

But typically, it's a bigger spike upfront with much cheaper experience late game. When it comes to things like on-prem, or private cloud, or even hybrid cloud to some extent, I actually think if you have workloads that are very consistent, if you know exactly how much storage you're going to need, how much compute power you need, it's very stable, very consistent, it's probably cheaper to go to your private data center because you can purchase in bulk at the best rates for the time period you need for that specific thing, because you know exactly what it's going to be. That is only the case for a small subset of businesses in the world, who even have the analytics to come up with that data. But if you do, it's completely viable. Was it Dropbox, I think, recently—not recently. A couple years ago now, actually—they went off of their cloud provider. I think they're on AWS at a time, offhand. And they went to their own private data center. That could be butchered in this, slightly, but you get the point, is they knew exactly how much storage they need. And they found it to be cheaper to do it themselves on their own private data center. So, they did. Not a lot of companies can do that. But it's completely an option out there.

Emily: What do you think the stakes are? And by which I mean, how big a piece of the pie is IT budgets?

Travis: So, what funny is five, six years ago, if you were to ask me that question—this is back when even I worked more true to form IT—IT was not a business driver. It was overhead. It was, make sure my email is still on, and I have computers, and I can do these things, and connect the networks together. And it wasn't driving business decisions, type of a thing. That has radically changed over the last few years. I would actually say that IT is probably the most important aspect of your business now. 

Without a really strong IT department, you can't move fast on product development. Without a strong IT department, your engineering teams are—the velocity of the deliverables is slower. You can't leverage all these great new stuff that's coming out. So, IT now, to me, is probably the most important thing a business can truly manage appropriately. When it comes to the total budget, it has greatly increased because more responsibilities have also been placed upon IT.

They now have to manage to different usage patterns from forecast, different budgets. They have to manage to new skill sets requirements for cloud in particular, and other different types of niche technologies that your business may need. That means that IT themselves has to either staff up or purchase technology solutions like CloudCheckr to accommodate that growth in the business requirement. So, the IT budget is greatly increasing, but for good reasons. It's because the business demands nimbleness, and only a strong IT department can deliver that.

Emily: Does that mean though, that it's more important than ever to figure out where you're wasting resources, or at least be strategic about where you're spending those IT resources?

Travis: I one hundred percent believe in the strategy of identifying and managing to cloud waste should be in the forefront of pretty much every conversation, among other items. When it comes to focusing entirely on cloud waste, I don't think that's the right decision. I think there's a way that manage to that, that the business will accept while allowing for the right velocity of improvements to products or services, but when it comes to defining—really this comes down to me is the Center Of Excellence, at the end of the day. The Center Of Excellence should be that IT is either the owner of, or is a prominent member of. And they should be defining what's the atypical cost-saving strategy? What is the security profiling? What is the particular way you want to tag your resources, or otherwise, so that you can allocate them to the right business unit, or project code, or etcetera, for that cost analysis? That is the objective of the Center Of Excellence is defining the strategy. Cost savings is a piece of—a significant piece of—but a piece of the overall strategy that you should have an answer to, but it should not be the primary driver.

Emily: Anything else that you'd like to add?

Travis: In relation to Centers Of Excellence?

Emily: Just in relation, actually, to this whole discussion about cloud-native, costs, etcetera?

Travis: Yeah. Really, I want to speak to more on the large enterprise side, and/or smaller companies who are maybe being acquired, and having to manage themselves inside of a larger organization all of a sudden. It's becoming fairly normal to see two cloud providers inside of a larger organization. And the normalcy that I've seen is acquisitions: a larger business purchasing a smaller one, maybe the larger ones on AWS, but a smaller one has chosen GCP. And no company is going to tell the new acquisition to refactor themselves and shift over to Amazon. That's a—millions of dollars will be spent [laughs], and lots of time spent to accommodate that request, so no one's really going to answer it. 

Instead, what they will, though, is central IT will be asked to manage both. So, multi-cloud is becoming a thing. It's becoming more and more important to have the same business strategy applicable to multiple cloud vendors at once. It's important to have the right tooling in place so that as you onboard different cloud vendors than you're normally used to, at least the terminology stays the same, the functionality stays the same because you have the right tools that can help make that translation for you. Without that right process in place, it will mean that your organization will have to incur overhead to help manage always to different costs, different ways to optimize your costs, or otherwise. And so multi-cloud tooling is becoming more and more important for larger orgs, especially as your atypical business processes pan out.

Emily: How exactly, actually, does multi-cloud impact to this sort of cost equation?

Travis: Yeah, so there's two trains of thought when it comes to how multi-cloud impacts a project and then how the project [eventual] cost savings. So, there's the one that I personally believe does not happen that often, but it's worth mentioning, where you have a project that's deployed—you know, software deployed, application stack deployed—and that's leveraging a small piece of it from a different cloud vendor. So, maybe 90 percent of the stack is deployed on AWS but uses Google Cloud for some analysis engine they may have, or some particular tool. So, now you've got to combine these two things together. That happens, but rarely. 

The alternative to that is you have discrete projects who have their own cloud vendors that they use 100 percent of but you now need to manage the business unit, owns both those projects. And how do you then combine those two things, but there is no project dependency between the two? In both cases, there needs to be a strategy employed for identifying the individual resources. So, in AWS or otherwise, you have a tagging strategy based off of project code, or business unit, or reporting lines, or however the business needs to manage to it. 

The second is, you need to come up with and identify consistent ways you want to save money. Every cloud vendor may have a slightly different functionality because they need to differentiate among themselves; that's normal. But everybody should be turning off servers from 7 p.m. at night until 6 a.m. the next day, when the workforce is typically not working—the internal systems, pre-production type systems—if you can. And that's true to form, regardless if you’re Amazon, or Azure, or GCP. And so you need tooling and the right process in place to identify those cross-cloud cost-saving strategy options available to you, and need to normalize the way you want to implement on it. If you don't do that, what typically will end up happening is you're going to be working out of multiple consoles with different terminology, and different settings you're not used to, and different ways to implement it, and somewhere something will fall through the cracks, and you will not have consistency in your cost-saving strategy.

Emily: All right, one more question. What's your favorite can't live without engineering tool?

Travis: Oh, I can't say that. Because I'm going to get yelled at. [laughs]. If I had to take off my CloudCheckr hat and put my personal hat on for a brief moment, I would say log analysis tools like Sumo Logic, like Splunk, is my favorite thing, period. Back when I was more in engineering side of the house, before I was in product, I would spend hours looking through log analytics. There's just so much you can do with those tools nowadays to identify, come up with really cool analysis products. 

That's actually one of the guiding principles I see for CloudCheckr is people really want to have fun tools they can play with, and see, and get their hands on, and come up with new conclusions to answers they may not have had in the past. That's what I see those log analytics products doing. CloudCheckr is following a very similar route, and that's the ethos that I'm instilling on our product team is our users, our customers, they should have a fun product to be able to get into and play with their data, and use in different ways to come to new conclusions they’ve never seen before, especially on cost analysis. So, those are my favorite products and how we integrate them into our product decisions.

Emily: Where can listeners connect with you?

Travis: Yeah, so I'm on LinkedIn. Just Google my name Travis Rehl, CloudCheckr, feel free to contact me; happy to chat. CloudCheckr, if you're a CloudChecker customer, we have an All-Stars program at, which enables you to have a Slack workspace with us, which myself and my team run so you're able to chat, have conversations like this, or otherwise. I also post on Twitter, but be honest with you not that often. So, if you're looking to reach out, I’d say LinkedIn is probably your best bet.

Emily: Thank you again. This is Travis Rehl. And thank you for joining us on the Business of cloud-native.

Travis: Sure. Thanks for having me.

Announcer: Thank you for listening to The Business of cloud-native podcast. Keep up with the latest on the podcast at and subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever fine podcasts are distributed. We'll see you next time.

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What is The Business of Open Source?

Whether you're a founder of an open source startup, an open source maintainer or just an open source enthusiast, join host Emily Omier as she talks to the people who work at the intersection of open source and business, from startup founders to leaders of open source giants and all the people who help open source startups grow.